You Are Set Apart
A devotional by Jessica B. Turner
“And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
–Mark 11:13-14 (ESV)
When I first read this scripture a few years ago, I was greatly disturbed by it. I just couldn’t comprehend Jesus Christ’s harsh response to a fig tree that was simply doing what was expected of it: not producing fruit during a season that wasn’t meant for figs.
Christ’s reaction seems so out of place, unjustified even. How could He curse something for not doing something it wasn’t even set up to do?
I believe it caused such an unsettled response in me, and still does sometimes, because I could easily relate to the fig tree. Numerous times, I’ve found myself walking through a season of drought, feeling as if I have nothing left to give. The mere thought of producing anything of value out of such a time of barrenness seems unfair and gives thought to the question, “Will I ever be able to please my Savior?” You may be asking the same thing as you read this.
But don’t fret for I have good news!
Until recently I didn’t realize that Jesus knew more than I did when it came to this particular fig tree. He understood that the presence of leaves on this tree was out of character for this time of the year, setting it apart. He also knew that the leaves should have been accompanied by fruit despite the “season” it was in.
After learning this small, yet priceless detail, the way I read this scripture has been completely transformed. Now, I can’t help but see the leaves as a symbol of our proclamation of faith. Our salvation. Our knowing of who Jesus Christ is.
As believers, we are set apart from the rest of the world, just like this tree was. But it is up to us what happens next. Do we simply accept Christ into our lives and allow ourselves to become complacent? Content with the fact that we are now planted in the kingdom of God, ready for all to see. We have the title of a Christian and may even look the part, but do we stop there?
We must be willing to go the next step. We must allow God to have access to our lives, pruning what may look good yet is an obstacle standing in the way of what God has in store. While Christ’s behavior in this scripture may appear odd, He understood that the only way His Father’s will would be done here on Earth is if there were believers willing to go through the process of transformation. A process that would require them to go from simply saying “I believe” to “I am ready to give my life to you, sharing the fruits of your presence in my life.”
So how do we do that, especially when we are in a season where it doesn’t seem possible to produce anything of value? Through sharing our stories and the role our Savior plays in them.
Feel as if you are barely hanging on by a thread? Share how you are clinging to who He is and His promises. Through doing so, you are giving the gifts of joy and hope.
On the receiving end of His grace, extend that to someone else the next time you are tempted to cast blame. Through doing so, you are giving the gifts of forgiveness and gentleness.
See someone being treated unjustly? Stand by their side and let them know they are seen and heard. Through doing so, you are giving the gifts of love and kindness.
There will be times in our lives where it easy to share the goodness of God, but we are called to spread His love and bring Him glory even when it isn’t. In fact, our greatest testimonies often come out of the seasons where we are not expected to be praising His name, yet we still do.
Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me so much that you gave Your one and only Son to die on the cross for me. Through His sacrifice, I am able to live a transformed life. A life that glorifies You. Help me to be set apart while advancing Your kingdom here on Earth by living in such a way that others may experience Your love through the fruits I produce. I love You and I trust You. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.
Jessica B. Turner is a wife, mom, and LSU graduate with a degree in veterinary medicine.
After practicing small animal medicine for six years, she traded in her stethoscope to become an online wellness coach, motivational speaker, and writer with a passion for mental health advocacy. This major life change was sparked after Jessica struggled with postpartum depression soon after she birthed her twin girls.
Along with Jessica’s career change came the discovery of who Jesus Christ really is and how He was the missing piece for her to be able to move forward from past trauma that she had suppressed for decades.
Jesus walked alongside Jessica as she underwent a transformation like none other. God transformed Jessica’s life from a broken mom who struggled with depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and PTSD from witnessing an attempted suicide, to using her experiences to make her a powerful vessel for Him. To this day, God enables Jessica to touch the lives of others through her often unfiltered, yet inviting, form of storytelling.
Throughout this process of refinement, Jessica has shared her life story with the world through her social media platforms, in-person events, blog posts, and podcasts. She values the gift of transparency and has discovered that what so many people need to know is that they are not alone. Jessica has walked in their shoes, and she wants the world to know that Jesus is walking with them as well.
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